Writing Routine and Positive Messages

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Writing Routine and Positive Messages


<ul><li> 1. 8: Writing Routine and Positive Messages 1Chapter 8: Writing Routine and Positive MessagesCopyright 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice HallCHAPTER OUTLINEStrategy for Routine RequestsStating Your Request Up FrontExplaining and Justifying Your RequestRequesting Specific Action in a Courteous CloseCommon Examples of Routine RequestsAsking for Information and ActionAsking for RecommendationsMaking Claims and Requesting AdjustmentsStrategy for Routine and Positive MessagesStarting with the Main IdeaProviding Necessary Details and ExplanationEnding with a Courteous CloseCommon Examples of Routine and Positive MessagesAnswering Requests for Information and ActionGranting Claims and Requests for AdjustmentResponding to a Claim When Your Company Is at FaultResponding to a Claim When the Customer Is at FaultResponding to a Claim When a Third Party Is at FaultProviding RecommendationsSharing Routine InformationAnnouncing Good NewsFostering GoodwillSending CongratulationsSending Messages of AppreciationOffering Condolences</li></ul><p> 2. 8: Writing Routine and Positive Messages 2Copyright 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice HallLECTURE NOTESSection 1: Strategy for Routine RequestsLearning Objective 1: Outline an effective strategy for writing routine business requests.Much of the vital communication between a company and its customers is about routine business matters.These messages fall into two groups: Routine requests, asking for information or action A variety of routine, positive messagesMaking requests is a routine part of business. In most cases, the audience will be prepared to comply, aslong as the request is reasonable. By applying a clear strategy and a tailored approach to each situation,routine requests will be efficient and effective.Like all other business messages, a routine request has three parts: an opening, a body, and a close. Usingthe direct approach: Open with the main idea, which is a clear statement of the request Use the body to give details and justify the request Close by requesting specific actionStating Your Request Up FrontBegin routine requests by placing your initial request first; up front is where it stands out and gets themost attention. Of course, getting right to the point should not be interpreted as license to be abrupt ortactless. Careful presentation includes the following: Pay attention to tone. Even though you expect a favorable response, the tone of your initialrequest is important. Soften your request with words such as please and I would appreciate. Assume that your audience will comply. You can generally assume that your readers willcomply with your request when the reason for it is clear and they see a benefit for themselves. Be specific and state the need precisely.Explaining and Justifying Your RequestThe body of the message explains the request. Its a smooth and logical explanation, flowing from theopening remarks. Including how the reader could benefit from taking action, is always a sound step inassuring the reader will comply.Whether writing a formal letter or a simple instant message, use the body of the request to list a seriesof questions. These questions help organize the message and help the reader identify the importantinformation. A few basics for message organization include: 3. 8: Writing Routine and Positive Messages 3 Ask the most important questions first. Ask only relevant questions that are central to the main request. Doing so will generate ananswer sooner and make better use of the other persons time. Deal with only one topic per question; dont put the burden of untangling a complicatedrequest on the reader. This consideration shows respect for the audiences time, and will helpget a more accurate answer in less time.Copyright 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice HallRequesting Specific Action in a Courteous CloseThe close of a routine request should include three important elements: A specific request Contact information for possible future communication If action is requested, a specific date or time for complianceConclude messages by sincerely expressing goodwill and appreciation.Section 2: Common Examples of Routine RequestsLearning Objective 2: Describe three common types of routine requests.Most routine messages fall into a few main categories: Asking for information and action Asking for recommendations Making claims and requesting adjustmentsAll of these types of requests are similar in structure, approach, and desired result. Whether asking forknowledge or action, each requires time and effort of the reader and, therefore, should be handledprofessionally and with care.Asking for Information and ActionWhen theres a need for information or for someone to take action, the best course for the sender is tosimply ask. In essence, simple requests say: What you want to know or what you want the reader to do Why youre making the request Why it may be in the readers interest to help youIf the reader is able to take action, a straightforward request will get results quickly. Use the directapproach by: Opening with a clear statement of the reason for writing Providing whatever explanation is needed to justify the request Closing with a specific description of what is expected and include a deadline, if appropriate 4. 8: Writing Routine and Positive Messages 4You can assume some shared background when communicating about a routine matter with someonein the same company. If the request is being made of someone outside your daily routine or contacts,it may be best to include background information for the ease of the reader.Copyright 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice HallAsking for RecommendationsIn business, the need to inquire about people arises often. From circumstances involving credit,contracts, jobs, promotions, or scholarships, companies often ask applicants to supplyrecommendations from references. Recommendations vouch for ones ability, skills, integrity,character, and fitness for the job. Before designating someone as a reference, always ask permissionto do so beforehand.Because requests for recommendations and references are routine, the direct approach is appropriate: Open the message by clearly stating why the recommendation is needed and that a letter isrequested. If contact has been limited for some time, use the opening to trigger the readers memory ofthe scope of the relationship. Use the body of the message to provide details and reasons for the request. Close the message with an expression of appreciation. When asking for an immediaterecommendation, also mention the deadline.Making Claims and Requesting AdjustmentsAt one time or another, most consumers have a problem with a product or service. Despite bestintentions, this is bound to occur and resolving the situation will be much easier if one is prepared.There are basically two options for handling this type of difficult situation: Make a claim (a formal complaint documenting the writers dissatisfaction) Request an adjustment (a settlement of a claim)In either case, its important to maintain a professional tone in all communications. A rational, clear,and courteous approach is best for any routine request. Assume that a fair adjustment will be madeand use a direct approach: In the opening, provide a straightforward statement of the problem. In the body, give a complete, specific explanation of the details; provide any information anadjuster would need to verify the complaint. In the close, politely request specific action or convey a sincere desire to find a solution.Section 3: Strategy for Routine and Positive MessagesLearning Objective 3: Outline an effective strategy for writing routine replies and positive messages.When responding to routine requests and sending routine and positive messages, you have several goals: Communicate the information or the good news. 5. 8: Writing Routine and Positive Messages 5 Answer all questions, to provide required details. Leave readers with a good impression of you and your firm.Because readers will generally be interested in a positive message, use the direct approach with a routinereply or positive message: Place the main idea (the positive reply or the good news) in the opening. Use the body to explain all the relevant details. Close cordially and highlight a benefit to the reader.Copyright 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice HallStarting with the Main IdeaBy opening routine and positive messages with the main idea or good news, the audience is preparedfor the details that follow. Make the opening clear and concise. The best way to write a clear openingis to, first, have a clear idea of what needs to be said. Organized thoughts will lead to a concisemessage that encourages action.Providing Necessary Details and ExplanationUse the body of the message to explain points completely and concisely so the audience wont beconfused or doubtful about the meaning. When providing details, maintain the supportive toneestablished in the opening.If the routine message may elicit mixed reactions, convey mildly disappointing information in asfavorable a context as possible. Its only when you suspect the reader will respond positively to thisnews that you should use the direct approach. Otherwise, the indirect approach would be best tosoften the blow.Offering favorable comments to the reader is often a positive way to use the body of the message.While these comments should be honest and thoughtful, they also serve to elicit a positive responsefrom the reader.Ending with a Courteous CloseA routine or positive message is more likely to succeed if readers are left feeling that their bestinterests are being kept in mind. This can be accomplished by: Highlighting a benefit to the reader Clarifying what action is to be taken, and by whom Expressing appreciation or goodwillSection 4: Common Examples of Routine and Positive MessagesLearning Objective 4: Describe six common types of routine replies and positive messages.Most routine and positive messages fall into six main categories: 6. 8: Writing Routine and Positive Messages 6 Answers to requests for information and action Grants of claims and requests for adjustment Recommendations Routine information Good-news announcements Goodwill messagesCopyright 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice HallAnswering Requests for Information and ActionEvery professional frequently answers requests. In fact, many receive requests so often that theyhardly even notice. Its important, though, to treat all requests with respect and remember thatsomeone needs something. A prompt and gracious response will positively reflect on the sender andhis or her organization.Occasionally, requests include the opportunity for improving business relations. When answeringrequests and a potential sale is involved, there are three main goals: Respond to the inquiry and answer all questions Leave the reader with a good impression Encourage a future saleGranting Claims and Requests for AdjustmentEven the best-run companies make mistakes. These unfortunate events may represent a turning pointin the relationship between the company and the customer. If the situation is handled well, thecustomer is likely to be even more loyal than before; they now have reason to believe the company isserious about customer satisfaction. Conversely, if the situation is handled poorly, the customer willbe quite capable of taking that business elsewhere.Any response to a customer complaint depends on the companys policies for resolving such issuesand an assessment of whether the company, the customer, or some third party is at fault.Responding to a Claim When Your Company Is at FaultIf its determined that the company is at fault, resulting in a claim, it is important to takeprecautionary steps to respond appropriately and responsibly. Before responding after your companyhas made a mistake, know the companys policies which might dictate specific legal and financialsteps to be taken. Serious missteps require a serious response. A professional demeanor is in orderand placing blame will only elevate frustrations.Most routine responses will take into account company policy and include the following: Acknowledgement of the customers claim or complaint Sympathy for the customers inconvenience or frustration Acknowledgement of responsibility for settling the matter Explanation of steps to be taken and taking those steps 7. 8: Writing Routine and Positive Messages 7 Verification that the situation is resolved satisfactorilyResponding to a Claim When the Customer Is at FaultSome companies have strict guidelines for responding to such claims, whereas others give individualemployees and managers some leeway in making case-by-case decisions. In either case, this type ofcommunication is always delicate.If a claim is granted, the message should open with the good news, being sure to specify exactly whatis being agreed upon as the company takes action.The body of the message is tricky because repeated claims should be discouraged in the future. Thiscan be accomplished by steering the customer in the right direction with clear reminders of companyprocedures and policies. The challenge is to diplomatically remind the customer of proper productusage or procedures without being condescending.Despite the circumstances, close in a courteous manner that expresses an appreciation for thecustomers business.Responding to a Claim When a Third Party Is at FaultSometimes neither the company being contacted nor the customer is at fault. Its often possible that athird party vendor (a middle-man, so to speak) is at fault. Even in this situation, it is important that thecompany contacted address the issue and communicate with the customer. Make sure to evaluate thesituation carefully and know company policies before responding.Regardless of who eventually resolves the problem, if customers contact you, you need to respondwith messages that explain how the problem will be solved. Pointing fingers is unproductive andunprofessional; resolving the situation is the only issue customers care about.Copyright 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice HallProviding RecommendationsWhen writing a letter of recommendation, the goal is to convince readers that the person beingrecommended has the characteristics necessary for the job, project assignment, scholarship, or anyother objective. Successful recommendation letters include the candidates full name, position sought,nature of your relationship, relevant facts regarding performance, and an overall evaluation.Be aware that recommendation letters have become a complex legal matter in recent years so be sureto check company policies before writing a recommendation. Also, keep in mind that when writing arecommendation, the writer is putting his or her own reputation on the line.Sharing Routine InformationMany messages involve sharing routine information,...</p>


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